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Libya Purchases 1.2 mil Wind-up Laptops

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the have-a-machine dept.

258

An anonymous reader writes "The government of Libya is reported to have agreed to provide its 1.2m school children with a cheap, durable laptop computer by June 2008. The laptops offer internet access and are powered by a wind-up crank. They cost $100 and manufacturing begins next year, says One Laptop per Child. The non-profit association's chairman, Nicholas Negroponte, said the deal was reached on Tuesday in Libya. Professor Negroponte told the New York Times in an email that the project mirrored Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's political agenda of creating a more open Libya and he also expressed interest in purchasing the computers for poorer African neighbors."

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Ummm (4, Funny)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406055)

BTW, were these things designed to be sand proof ?

Re:Ummm (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406099)

I am not sure if you are joking, but this is a serious problem in desert communities. Were not talking about just being out on a windy day. I was in Desert Storm and ALL of our equipment suffered sand problems.

Re:Ummm (5, Informative)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406271)

You were more likely than not right in the desert, which is a lot worse than being in the city and operating out of air conditioned buildings. I used to live in kuwait and had less problems with sand&dust than many other places. If you can use the equipment in a closed area then you should be fine.

Re:Ummm (2, Insightful)

pfoorion (215620) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406369)

I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger (Libya's neighbor to the south). Niger is very poor and the vast majority (99%+) of kids live in mud huts and sand gets EVERYWHERE. If Libya is indeed considering buying these for Nigerien kids, sand-proofing the machines would be key. Electronics in general do not last long at all in the harsh environment there.

Re:Ummm (0, Troll)

hadhad69 (1003533) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406127)

Don't worry, I hear they have buildings in Libya now. Even a car that the whole town an use!

Re:Ummm (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406595)

No, the question is: Where they designed to be jihad proof?

Terrorists! (5, Funny)

crhylove (205956) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406067)

God damn that Muammar Gaddafi, trying to make those African kids better with computers than our American kids. We need to get rid of these kinds of terrorists immediately, with their educating children and what not. What's next a Libyan bill of rights?!?!? Somebody needs to tell them that this is 2006, and the whole concept of a "Bill of Rights" is totally dated.

rhY

Re:Terrorists! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406281)

More like, "Goddurn towel-headded terrist goin' make himself a wind-up cluster to simulate them thur atom bombs!"

More likely, he is trying to give the kids a better start in life.

Re:Terrorists! (3, Informative)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406339)

I know this is a joke, but Lybia essentially changed sides in 2003. [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Terrorists! (5, Insightful)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406549)

The recent history of Lybia is an example of how protracted negotiation with 'terrorist' regimes can result in a positive outcome. For many, many years Muammar Gaddafi was seen as the ultimate bad guy, worse even than Saddam Hussain. Now he's, if not exactly one of the good guys, not part of the axis of evil.

If Iraq is a classic example of 'how not to do regime change' then Lybia is a classic example of 'how to do it right'.

Re:Terrorists! (2, Interesting)

Megane (129182) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406871)

"negotiation"? I don't recall us doing much negotiation with them. As far as I can tell, it was 1) we kicked their ass back in the day, 2) put them in esentially a permanent penalty box, and 3) they saw what happened in Iraq and decided they didn't really want to go through that. That's what really changed their mind.

And it certainly wasn't accomplished though appeasement.

Re:Terrorists! (2, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406375)

God damn that Muammar Gaddafi

Personally I find it interesting that, in the build up to the current war in Iraq, the US administration tried to make out that Saddam Hussien had proven links to the funding of terrorist activities in the west - which now turns out not to be true - whereas Gaddafi is known to have directly funded and supported international terrorist operations for many years, and yet now he is our best mate. I wonder why that is..?

Re:Terrorists! (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406579)

I wonder why that is..?

Haliburton is now the official state-sanctioned construction company of Libya.

Oil. (2, Informative)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406659)

Companies are falling all over themselves in order to gain exploration contracts there.

Re:Terrorists! (0, Flamebait)

suntac (252438) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406441)

To make sure that those kids will not become cyber terrorists and start learning all the good stuff from the beginning the US government has made sure that all those laptops will be shipped with Windows as the standard OS.

And thanks to some DRM chips you can only run Windows on them ;-) Well I jus made this up for fun but in fact it could very well be that it is running windows. Anyone knows what those machines are running?

*must* *resist*... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406069)

God BLeSS COLoNEL MUAMMaR GaDDAFI !!!

i tired...

Why? (1, Insightful)

acvh (120205) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406083)

Look, I think personal computers have proven to be a revolutionary addition to modern life, but poor and hungry kids in third world countries don't LIVE a modern life. They would be much better served by modern medicine, education, and help in removing the dictators who rape their own countries and KEEP those poor kids poor.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

2.246.1010.78 (721713) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406117)

First of all every people should get rid of of their own dictator. But educated masses are the first step for creating democracies and raise the awareness of political and social problems. Maybe it will help.

Re:Why? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406179)

will you people ever stop with the "dictators are bad, democrayies are for the free". If you even have a government ruling you, you aint free, so stop pretending you are. You could have a bad life if live under a democratic government, or under a dictaror, the type of government is not what makes them good or bad, its the people that run it.

You need to learn, that there are good dictators out there, and at least they get things done.

Re:Why? (1, Interesting)

Andrew Kismet (955764) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406761)

The best and worst forms of government are forms of dictatorship, be they by monarch, militia, or single-party constitutions.
Democracy is the most mediocre system, ruling by the law of averages.

Ihre Papiere schnell (2, Funny)

Lost Penguin (636359) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406507)

"First of all every people should get rid of of their own dictator."

Gitmo for you

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406143)

Yeah guess what, charity doesn't work in Africa, it just keeps up a dependency relationship.

Education works. Laptops are a nice way of showing some effort on that front.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406293)

You are right! these kids will be educated that they can get more than $100US for their laptops on ebay from hungry geeks dying to have one of these things.

The maker is being completely idiotic not selling them to geeks. I'd pay $200.00 for one right now for tinkering. Hell as a backpacking/camping PC it's down right perfect!

So the third world will get their money via paypal and ebay, and geeks get them in spite of the sillyness of the company/foundation making them.

Re:Why? (2, Interesting)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406471)

So the third world will get their money via paypal and ebay
I can't decide if you're serious or not, but just in case you are, but the country I live in (Hungary) joined the EU in 2004. Do you know since when can we use Paypal here to receive money? Oh, since Oct 5th, 2006...

Somehow I highly doubt that those kids in the poor countries could engage in any financial relationship with anyone abroad.

Re:Why? (1)

BigDogCH (760290) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406809)

Yeah, but I expect someone will be offering them $20 for the laptop (or stealing tons of them) then plopping them on ebay. The kids don't have to be the ones to sell in order to profit.

FYI, there are 384.2 laptops in a ton.

Re:Why? (1)

ag0ny (59629) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406807)

The maker is being completely idiotic not selling them to geeks.

The maker just sold 1.2 million of these. I wouldn't call that "being completely idiotic".

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406201)

A personal computer can be a great way to improve education! You don't think they're going to be playing video games or cranking out word documents with that (printerless) thing, do you? Libya is not some super-poor country, either. They have an 82.6% literacy rate so we know they're getting some education. CIA rates their average risk of getting Major infectious diseases as "intermediate" so they do have some competent level of medical care. Considering all that and their 2.3% rate of population growth, I'd say Libya is a second world, or developing, nation. Not a third world.

And if their Jamahiriya government style wanted to 'rape their own country and KEEP those poor kids poor" why would they be buying the laptops or trying to create a more open Libya?

Re:Why? (1)

hclyff (925743) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406209)

who rape their own countries and KEEP those poor kids poor
They do? By buying 120 mil USD worth of computers? Yeah, total rape.

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406213)

Where do you people come from? It's like, no matter how much light is shed on this matter, people keep objecting with that irrelavent point. These computers are for countries that are poor, yes, but they already have modern medicine, education and democracy. Yes, such countries exist, like the ones already planning on buying these computers: Nigeria, Brazil, Argentina, Thailand, and now Libya. The countries like the ones you describe aren't the ones getting these. They have bigger problems to deal with, as you say.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406217)

Shut up. Do yourself a massive favour and go back and read every other slashdot article on the OLPC project. The same tired, cliched comment that you just made always comes up. And it has been shot down again and again. And again.

For the record: not every child in Africa is starving and sick. Many, many of them are fed and healthy, and hungry for leading and opportunites. They will benefit imensely from this. The targeted countries are not famine or war zones. This project's sponsors have in fact thougt about it for longer than the 30 seconds that you have, and they still think it's a good idea.

Re:Why? (1)

symes (835608) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406243)

Of course food, shelter and education should be prioritised and in Libya there's already a fair bit going on http://www.undp-libya.org/index.php?option=com_con tent&task=view&id=33&Itemid=42 [undp-libya.org] . So long as providing windup laptops does not prevent poverty reduction surely they are a good thing?

I want to challenge your perceptions. (4, Insightful)

burnttoy (754394) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406511)

Africa is not some dust bowl or rain forests full of poisonous monkeys.

It is a rich continent and although technology ("progress?") hasn't reached every corner that does not mean the images of doe eyed children starving to death in the middle of nowhere are emblematic of the entire continent.

Something the computer _CAN_ provide is information. What I mean is you can take all the supplies you like but unless you have a hand book or instruction manual those supplies (unless it is just food aid) are all but useless. Imagine having the biggest reference book ever openly available for you and your tutors. Want to build a damn for hydroelectricity in your village? Search for it. Want to build a wind turbine? Search for it then search for companies that can supply and ship components you can't make.

When you talk of providing modern medicine - yes, great. Now look at who rapes who. The "west" (with its extraordinarily tight grip of patents, trademarks, copyrights on most modern drugs) is implicit in the denial of medicine to these countries. Why? Because the corporations of the west will not sell drugs in those countries at the low prices required.

Libya is certainly not as ravaged as your post would indicate. It's a rich(ish) country with food, oil, medicine etc etc. Although maybe their dictator is a bit loco. Then again, he certainly seems to have grown up a lot over the last 20 years.

Other problems in Africa (Darfur, Ethiopea, Eritrea, Congo Basin etc) are cause by _WAR_. If it wasn't for the gutless inaction of the UN then maybe, just maybe those problems would have been sorted out (or at least the long road to recovery) long ago.

Sorry if it sounds like I'm ranting but.. well.. I guess I am.

Re:Why? (3, Interesting)

Drall (1006725) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406553)

Libya life expectancy: 76.69 years
USA life expectancy: 77.85 years

Yup, they're just about starving, there. I can see the corpses piling up daily...

Re:Why? (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406713)

Not all Libyan children are poor and hungry. I don't know but I won't be surprised if most of them go to school and have a regular family life. These laptops won't reach the children who live on the streets, but if they reach the children in school, that will help those children get a better life, improve their standard of living, and in the long run that will improve the life of the hungry and poor as well.

It's the same as in any society. Not the poor started to use computers and internet in the US and Europe, but the rich(er) and educated. Then it passed on to the rest.

Be very careful people... (-1, Troll)

Shanep (68243) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406087)

Don't criticize this! It would be like criticising THE Church! And that could get you lightning bolts up your arse!

New Meaning (2, Funny)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406093)

Gives a new meaning to "cranking one out".

back to the future (2, Funny)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406105)

Obligatory back to the future quote:
"It's the Lybians!"

sounds evil to me.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406107)

gadafi? 'open'.. millions of computers? well.. it's time to include libya in the axis of evil!
.. and pick Liechtenstein too, sounds horribly evil to me!

sincerely, Big W.

Re:sounds evil to me.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406145)

Sounds like a plan. We need to do something to help us continue to ignore North Korea!

Before the comments roll in... (5, Insightful)

arun_s (877518) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406111)

... about third world countries needing food and medicine more (god I can't stand those comments!), here's a very nice article [greenstar.org] I found through reddit about what happened when an Indian computer chap put a comp in a slum in the capital city.
Its 6 years old but sure makes for nice reading. Stuff like that makes the OLPC worth it IMO.

Re:Before the comments roll in... (1)

benk81 (870685) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406371)

Great link, thanks.

Re:Before the comments roll in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406421)

wow!! that one link pretty much destroys the argument that 3rd world countries should not worry too much about getting computers. I suppose I never believed that computers could be useful too, Istand corrected

It may also destroy the idea that community PCs wont work (which is why the 100$ laptop)... What with the kids inventing alltogether new terms to describe mouse and the hourglass!!

Would be nice.. (2, Insightful)

joshetc (955226) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406115)

If someone out there cared about US citizens. I am sure there are tons of kids out there that could use a $100 laptop, even some grownups. Were stuck with buying them in pairs of 3s and getting one of the 3 at some undisclosed time in the future.. anyone know if these will ever be sold retail in the USA? I'd take one of these over a PDA any day.

Also I had heard they were going to remove the wind-up power, I guess they changed their mind again? I think these seem really cool and would love to get my hands on one...

Re:Would be nice.. (1)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406299)

Funny you should say that; OLPC detractors often say "if giving laptops to kids is such a good idea, why don't we start the project at home?" Two replies have been formed: 1; a laptop for every kid in the world isn't actually a very good idea, or 2; we care more about third world children than our own.

Whatever argument you decide to use, the lack of these things in the West is still visible, as noticed by yourself.

Re:Would be nice.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406307)

Well, there is someone who cares about U.S. citizens, it called the American Government, OLPC only sell to governments, so if the current administration or the department of education has some spare cash then I'm sure the deal wouldn't be a problem.

The power generator is not "wind-up" but rather a cord that is pulled out of a reel spinning a flywheel and the dynamo, it's supposed to work quite well.

Although it would be frowned upon a few devices will inevitably end up on ebay.

Re:Would be nice.. (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406401)

``Although it would be frowned upon a few devices will inevitably end up on ebay.''

Yeah, I can see it now:

$100 laptop sold on eBay for $3735928559

I'll buy one (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406119)

If you have one of these, shove it on eBay and i'll buy bid.

Also (1, Funny)

Se7enLC (714730) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406123)

A nuclear bomb made from pinball machine parts.

how about one laptop per child in US? (1, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406133)

We dont have one laptop per child here, not even close. Why is it that we're not on top of this stuff, yet we're happy to catapult other countries ahead by selling them the laptops?

Re:how about one laptop per child in US? (1)

hamburger lady (218108) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406225)

We dont have one laptop per child here, not even close

because that would be socialism, apparently (which is way bad). strangely enough, spending $300 billion to fix iraq for iraqis is just peachy.

Re:how about one laptop per child in US? (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406415)

``strangely enough, spending $300 billion to fix iraq for iraqis is just peachy.''

That should be "over $300 billion" and "\"fix\"".

Re:how about one laptop per child in US? (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406431)

so why don't YOU buy notebooks and give them to poor children? because that would be spending your own money, apparently (which is way bad).
try living in a socialist country like mine before spewing bullshit, thanks

Re:how about one laptop per child in US? (1)

hamburger lady (218108) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406655)

so why don't YOU buy notebooks and give them to poor children?

where's the profit in that?

Re:how about one laptop per child in US? (1)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406689)

Heh,

giorgiofr, you forget you are speaking to an American Liberal. The kind of socialist that the leaders of the old Soviet Union used to call "Useful idiots". What else would you expect BUT bullshit from them?

spending $300 billion to fix iraq for iraqis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406443)

"Knock Knock"

"Who's there?"

"America"

"America who?"

"Everybody Down On The Motherfucking Ground Or I'll Blow Your Motherfucking Heads Off Mothefucker"

Re:how about one laptop per child in US? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406557)

The United States treats its socialism the way a priest treats masturbation -- it does it very rarely, with a great amount of guilt, and tries very hard to ignore the amount of relief it brings.

Surely.... (0)

nozzo (851371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406135)

this is a wind up? :-)

Let's see how well this goes (0, Flamebait)

belal1 (981326) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406137)

let's see how well this actually goes. personally, i doubt the children will actually be using the laptops. instead i am very certain the parents will either sell it or the kids will get robbed by some local militia that always seems to pop up in every african country. eitherway, the kids won't have the laptops as projected and a black market is going to spawn up.

what i don't understand is, many places in libya don't even have electricity so how will the servers that each school is supposedly going to house, be powered? don't tell me someone will stand by 24-7 foot peddling for some juice...

Read the Summary At Least (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406189)

let's see how well this actually goes. personally, i doubt the children will actually be using the laptops. instead i am very certain the parents will either sell it or the kids will get robbed by some local militia that always seems to pop up in every african country. eitherway, the kids won't have the laptops as projected and a black market is going to spawn up.
They want to make these laptops brightly colored so that if an adult is seen with one of them, it will be widely known that they have stolen from children. You have no idea how powerful social stigmas can be.

what i don't understand is, many places in libya don't even have electricity so how will the servers that each school is supposedly going to house, be powered? don't tell me someone will stand by 24-7 foot peddling for some juice...
Read the summary:
The laptops offer internet access and are powered by a wind-up crank.

Re:Read the Summary At Least (1)

belal1 (981326) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406335)

They want to make these laptops brightly colored so that if an adult is seen with one of them, it will be widely known that they have stolen from children. You have no idea how powerful social stigmas can be.
it wont' matter. the level of shame decreases if a large percentage of the population accepts it and the fact that libya is a poverty stricken nation, the vast majority won't mind. in third world countries it doesn't matter if you're wearing fruity colored clothes (or tasteless fashion) because the population is too poor to care how they look. Same thing will happen with these laptops. if worst comes to worst, they'll just spray paint it or something to another color.
The laptops offer internet access and are powered by a wind-up crank.
read what I said, i asked about the SERVERS. Not the laptops themselves. The laptops power supply has already been discussed (for quite a few months now) but as for the servers themselves, that's a different story. I imagine the servers to be much much bigger than the laptop themselves (obviously but who knows, maybe they might have engineered some small servers?) so keeping tehse servers active 24-7 will be a serious problem if the villages themselves (where the school is located) don't have electricity.

Re:Read the Summary At Least (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406351)

read what I said, i asked about the SERVERS. Not the laptops themselves. The laptops power supply has already been discussed (for quite a few months now) but as for the servers themselves, that's a different story. I imagine the servers to be much much bigger than the laptop themselves (obviously but who knows, maybe they might have engineered some small servers?) so keeping tehse servers active 24-7 will be a serious problem if the villages themselves (where the school is located) don't have electricity.
Why do they need local servers if they have internet access?

Re:Read the Summary At Least (1)

belal1 (981326) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406651)

According to this article: http://business.bostonherald.com/technologyNews/vi ew.bg?articleid=161975 [bostonherald.com]
The $250 million deal, reached Tuesday, would provide the nation with 1.2 million computers, a server in each school, a team of technical advisers, satellite internet service and other infrastructure.

Re:Let's see how well this goes (1)

mattr (78516) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406341)

If it is the same basic design Negroponte has been selling, then powered machines create a mesh by automatic ad hoc networking with other laptops. Though I have not heard of details, if I were designing it I'd provide free software that would turn any wired pc into a hub for this too. Power from hand cranking if necessary (perhaps if you are on a trip or in the boonies), also gives a kid the ability to be portable and take it as a book with him or her. Don't know if networking would be powered on all the time if you are in crank mode though. Maybe someone at the media lab could provide some info on battery lifetime, resolution, software specs. These are intended for non-U.S. places and mainly for kids. That said, your note about militias is valid and the only hope is that the military dictator also cares about his kids and tells his underlings so. However I am a little bit worried that the networking element would make kids trackable and possibly targets. In Cambodia I heard that radios would become military targets (this is in the 90s). On the other hand if you make enough pcs, the military can have one each too if they must. Maybe they will start blogging!

Re:Let's see how well this goes (1)

Magada (741361) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406383)

Lybia is not Eritreea, buddy. It's not even the Congo. It's a highly stable, highly opressive dictatorship under a bona-fide paranoid leader by the name of Mu'ammar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi . Not a leave moves (not that there are many) in that country without him or his cronies knowing about it. No "local militia" or high-level organised crime is allowed to take root. The country is only poor because of economic sanctions (imposed by the UN following the Lockerbie incident). It's on its way up again, as the sanctions were lifted and there's a lot of oil there.
It's also one of the few countries to have attempted a terraforming project.

Actually (1)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406477)

Given what is happening in Somalia, Iraq, Congo and so forth, I suspect most Libyans would take an oppressive dictator who wants to be well thought of by the rest of the world over competing warlords any day of the week. And I doubt the British or US governments will be polling Iraqis any time soon to see if they prefer the present state of affairs (and over 600 000 deaths in a few years) over Saddam.

The UK has had over 350 years of working at democracy. The US has had over 200. We have had time to get fairly good at it and evolve civil societies. Libya hasn't.

Re:Actually (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406887)

and over 600 000 deaths in a few years
Study Says Iraqi Death Toll at 655k 2006-10-12 7:46 Rejected

I hope someone else's submission goes through so that we can have a proper discussion about it on /., I'm crap at writing summaries anyway.

Re:Let's see how well this goes (1)

The Great Pretender (975978) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406425)

Damn! So I'm going to start getting spam emails from Lybians claiming to be the hiers/bankers/lawyers of millions of dollars of cash. If I just give them my bank account number I can share in that wealth/get a % fee. What's the IP code for Lybia I need to set my spam blocker up now and just send them all to junk mail.

Re:Let's see how well this goes (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406653)

From the CIA factbook:

Substantial revenues from the energy sector coupled with a small population give Libya one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa, but little of this income flows down to the lower orders of society.

Qadhafi sees himself as a player in pan-African politics. This is the sort of thing he can afford to do for "his" people and the neighboring countries. Cynicism aside, it's good to see an African purchase.

(As a side note, I thought there was recently an article that the price was going up to $140? Discount on million unit sales?)

Too Bad India Opted Out (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406139)

I never thought I'd say this, but I wish India would follow Libya [theregister.co.uk] and reconsider--I mean this is the first time a humanitarian effort has strongly targeted learning tools. Food & medicine are important, but I sincerely hope we can show those we help how to continue to support themselves with tools like this.

India is purchasing Intel's offering (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406597)

...Intel claims that orders have been received from Mexico, Nigeria, India, and Brazil. It is worth noting that India evaluated the OLPC 2B1 laptop and decided not to purchase any. [arstechnica.com]

Intel's offering is beefier and costs ~$100 more. Also note that Intel doesn't have a minimum order of 1,000,000 units unlike the OLPC project.

Great Scott! (3, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406149)

Man. Those Libyians are going to be really pissed when they find out that their plutonium wasn't used to power the laptops.

Wind up? (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406151)

I thought the OLPC people decided that the hand crank was too much stress on the frame of the computer and went away from that model? Does this mean that they are going back to hand cranks, or that the crank is detached from the computer?

Re:Wind up? (1)

jginspace (678908) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406223)

Does this mean that they are going back to hand cranks, or that the crank is detached from the computer?

I posted just one minute after you. According to this: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_myths [laptop.org] the crank has been dropped and ...
The hand crank was there in early prototypes but the actual shipping units will use an off-board human-power system, connected to the power brick. Candidates include a foot-pedal charger similar to the Freecharge portable charger.

Wind-up crank? (2, Informative)

jginspace (678908) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406159)

The laptops offer internet access and are powered by a wind-up crank.

Is this more shoddy BBC journalism? I thought this had been dropped from the OLPC spec a while ago?

Re:Wind-up crank? (1)

compm375 (847701) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406237)

I believe it is. Also it seems they failed to mention that the laptops haven't reached the $100 price point yet and will start at $150, and that Libya is paying $250 million total for all the laptops and infrastructure.

Re:Wind-up crank? (2, Informative)

jginspace (678908) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406251)

(Replying to myself...)

...it seems the OLPC site still mentions it ... when you hover the mouse over the FAQ. However it's not mentioned in the actual FAQ and this page http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_myths [laptop.org] puts things straight.

Glad that's sorted.

Not wind-up. WIND up. (1)

aapold (753705) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406325)

It has a little windmill that connects via a cable and harnesses the power of the desert winds.... when they rise, the teacher can yell "wind up", so students can get them out quickly and do a lesson while it lasts.....


okay, that was pretty lame. its not worth ruining my average postinthwhoops.asdflksubmit

Re:Wind-up crank? (1)

NekoXP (67564) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406337)

Yes. Journalist gets a Reuters news feed, remembers stuff he half-=read one day on the same subject, cobbles together article, publishes, collects paycheck.

They haven't even met their $100 target even without the laptop. Maybe Libya will buy them for $100, but they don't "cost" that on the BOM even without the handcrank :D

Libya: highest std of living in Africa (5, Informative)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406161)

Please do some reasearch. Libya is a huge thinly populated country with oil. It has the highest or second highest std of living in Africa. Most middle class people speak Italian (former colony). If anyone in a '3rd world' country can make use of cheap computers, it's them.

Re:Libya: highest std of living in Africa (2, Funny)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406345)

I don't understand how having the highest STD rate in Africa means they could make use of laptops better than any other third world nation? Or even having oil for that matter... Not saying it's not nice for them and they won't make good use of the laptops, but that's roughly the equivelant of me saying "John Adams High School has the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in the state and the highest wealth per capita in the county, therefore if anyone could use new textbooks, it's them."

Re:Libya: highest std of living in Africa (0, Flamebait)

GCsoftware (68281) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406357)

You're an idiot.

Re:Libya: highest std of living in Africa (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406559)

std of living = "standard of living", has nothing to do with sexually transmitted diseases.
But now that you bring it up, extrapolating from AIDS [wikipedia.org] I'd say that the STD rate is rather lower in Libya than in most of Africa. Assuming that the data on that page is accurate, of course. The distribution in that graph [wikipedia.org] is a bit odd (notice which countries are colored green).

Std of living = "standard of living" (1)

patio11 (857072) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406669)

Grandparent is partially wrong, by the way, but he wasn't talking about AIDS. Libya's oil wealth gives rise to a very stratified society -- you're either cut into the oil profits (a socialist regime rewarding supporters and screwing the rest of the country -- stop the presses!), or you're in a situation such that "poor" does not even begin to describe your life. Like many African nations it STILL has a slavery problem. Thats slavery like "I own you and can sell you at will", for folks who are used to hearing the later-day American interpretation "I employ you and don't pay you as much as you'd like to earn". I'll give you one guess as to your likelihood of getting a laptop as a slave that the government (sole laptop distributor) says doesn't exist.

Re:Libya: highest std of living in Africa (1)

wild_berry (448019) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406885)

I suspect the GP meant 'standard of living', not a reference to sexually-transmitted infections. A rich country with a high standard of living will have economic prospects for internet-based businesses started in a few years by grown-up OLPChildren.

About the laptop (0, Redundant)

djuuss (854954) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406175)

The website for the One Laptop Per Child project is http://laptop.media.mit.edu/ [mit.edu] And the Wiki: http://wiki.laptop.org/wiki/One_Laptop_per_Child [laptop.org] RedHat is developing the OS for it, and the first prototype has been released last may. First generations of the laptop will actually be more expensive, around $156, the $100 pricetag will be ... off memory, somewhere in 2008. Speccs: Core electronics: * CPU: AMD Geode GX2-500@1.0W(datasheet) * CPU clock speed: 366 Mhz * Compatibility: X86/X87-compatible * Chipset: AMD CS5536 South Bridge (datasheet) * Graphics controller: Integrated with Geode CPU; unified memory architecture * Embedded controller (for production), ENE KB3700: Image:KB3700-ds-01.pdf * DRAM memory: 128MB dynamic RAM * Data rate: Dual - DDR266 - 133 Mhz * BIOS: 1024KB SPI-interface flash ROM; LinuxBIOS open-source BIOS * Mass storage: 512MB SLC NAND flash, high speed flash controller * Drives: No rotating media Display: * Liquid-crystal display: 7.5" Dual-mode TFT display * Viewing area: 151.6 mm × 113.4 mm * Resolution: 1200 (H) × 900 (V) resolution (200 dpi)

Really, About the laptop (0, Redundant)

djuuss (854954) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406267)

Now, with proper formatting!

The website for the One Laptop Per Child project is http://laptop.media.mit.edu/ [mit.edu]

And the Wiki: http://wiki.laptop.org/wiki/One_Laptop_per_Child [laptop.org]

RedHat is developing the OS for it, and the first prototype has been released last may.
First generations of the laptop will actually be more expensive, around $156, the $100 pricetag will be ... off memory, somewhere in 2008.

Speccs:
Core electronics: * CPU: AMD Geode GX2-500@1.0W(datasheet)
* CPU clock speed: 366 Mhz
* Compatibility: X86/X87-compatible
* Chipset: AMD CS5536 South Bridge (datasheet)
* Graphics controller: Integrated with Geode CPU; unified memory architecture
* Embedded controller (for production), ENE KB3700: Image:KB3700-ds-01.pdf
* DRAM memory: 128MB dynamic RAM
* Data rate: Dual - DDR266 - 133 Mhz
* BIOS: 1024KB SPI-interface flash ROM; LinuxBIOS open-source BIOS
* Mass storage: 512MB SLC NAND flash, high speed flash controller
* Drives: No rotating media Display:
* Liquid-crystal display:
7.5" Dual-mode TFT display
* Viewing area: 151.6 mm × 113.4 mm
* Resolution: 1200 (H) × 900 (V) resolution (200 dpi)

(sorry about parent)

I'm quite nerdy and... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406177)

I'm not a native english speaker. I had to "Google image" for "wind-up crank" (Of course didn't try to read TFA which may or may not contain a picture of the "wind-up crank" and which may or may be not already be /.ed). Anyway, the images that comes up makes me think that somehow a "wind-up crank" is not that much of a tech device ;)

Its... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406195)

...about time to waste billions of tax dollars and young lives to liberate Lybia from computer addiction... ...hell those poor children might end up playing WOW the whole day!!!

Think of the children and join the army!!!

food for energy (1)

kemo_by_the_kilo (971543) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406205)

wait, so these starving frail kids have to do physical labor to operater this thing? doesnt exercise make you more hungry? ...
....seriously though... im glad they did this. i still think that the major problem with america is the fact we still life for the now and not the long term. i mean this laptop purchase wont help the 3rd world countries, until they are smarter then the rich.
america look out... as a fool and his money are soon parted.
educate and we wont be fools.

These kids are going to get sued! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406235)

http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Hardware_specification [laptop.org] -> What makes this system unique?

Wireless mesh: Child-child sharing! OLPC Laptops are full-time wireless routers. Mesh networking reduces the need for dedicated infrastructure (e.g. access points and/or cabling), and extends greatly the areas in which machines may be connected to each other and/or to the internet.

OMG! P2P, RIAA sue these freeloaders now!

Beowolf Cluster (0)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406309)

Yes, someone has to mention the Beowolf Cluster.....

I think the Lybian leader is still upset with how the US treated him in the 80's. He just wants all these networked together to do some nasty weapons calculations. If he had ordered a lot of standard desktop computers all at once, people would start to wonder what's up.

Re:Beowolf Cluster (1)

belal1 (981326) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406607)

either that or he wants to trade pr0n pics of all his female body guards. maybe he wants to foster a small pr0n industry in the disguise of "helping children" ? i hate the leader so i can't/won't/refuse to trust this guy.

Is Libya not on the list (1)

babelworx (879974) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406355)

of countries to whom you can't export cryptography? Maybe this gives a new meaning to "open" source computing

Improves Morals (4, Funny)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406365)

Can't type, wind the crank, and wind the crank, all at the same time. An internet ready computer that can't be used for porn? Amazing!

populations evaluations (1)

KurtisKiesel (905982) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406413)

Lybia has 5.7 million people [wikipedia.org] and if you do the math( 1.2/5.7=~0.21) that means that 21% of the population will now have a computer and that logicaly 100% of the population will have access to a machine since 1 in 5 people will have one in their hands. I wonder just how this will effect everyone there? I wonder if they will have internet access? Some of the possibilities are endless. But realisticly I think we are going to have to worry about a new generation of phishers and spammers.

We will see, lotsa gotchas tho: (0)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406427)

Talk about the blind leading the blind!

In case you slept thru Social Studies, Libya:

  • Is a "peoples Jamanzbxvcnzbcnbzochira". OpenOffice spellchecker doesnt have this word.
  • Is run by your basic wild and crazy guy.
  • Who, next to North Korea, probably has the worlds worst messed-up economy.
  • Not to mention a traditional culture which isnt real hot on modern concepts like freedom, equality for women, or much of anything we can identify with.
  • If one were to guess what will happen to these laptops:
    • 35% will "disappear" before they get to the schools.
    • 35% will "disappear" between the school's loading dock and the classrooms.
    • 30% will be used just once, in rote fashion, to pull up "www.khadaffi.gov", so look at heroic photos of the great leader wearing various styles of classy italian sunglasses.
  • 100% of them will "disappear" or "break", or really break within a month.

This is not all that basically different from that scene in "Airplane!" where they're showing the natives how to burp Tupperware.

Wind-up laptop (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406501)

What a brilliant name. It rolls off the tounge nicely.

If was of a really high spec you could call it a tip-top wind-up laptop.

Open market / Black market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406687)

The 2B1 laptop will not be sold on the open market. What I want to know is why not!
Who here would buy this for $100? I would buy one just for the gadget value, especially the green/white one with the funky wireless antenna (If that is the final design).

Why not avoid the black market by flooding the market?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2B1 [wikipedia.org]

how much more food will we have to send in aid? (-1, Flamebait)

adzoox (615327) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406719)

How many calories does it burn to crank the laptop ... how much more food will we have to send in aid to make up the difference?
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